Natchez man pleads guilty in 2016 death

Published 1:18 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017


NATCHEZ — A Natchez man pleaded guilty Monday to killing another man over a dice game dispute on New Year’s Day, 2016.Jovan Singleton, who was first arrested for the murder in September 2016, received a sentence of 20 years in prison from Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson.

A grand jury indicted the now 26-year-old Singleton in May on a charge of first-degree murder, but Singleton reached an agreement with the District Attorney’s office to enter a plea to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

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The 20-year sentence is the minimum penalty for second-degree murder in Mississippi, with the maximum penalty being 40 years.

Sixth Circuit District Attorney Ronnie Harper said he is fine with the sentence given the circumstances.

“We felt like it was a reasonable plea on this particular case with the facts that we had and the evidence that we had available to us,” Harper said.

The Jan. 1, 2016, shooting resulted in the death of 24-year-old Bobby Butler.

The shooting reportedly occurred after a conflict broke out while Singleton, Butler and others were shooting dice.

Butler was later found dead in the middle of Gardner Circle in the Broadmoor subdivision.

Harper said Singleton at one point tried to claim his actions were in self-defense. No weapon was ever recovered in connection to the case, Harper said.

“He made a decision to plea to this charge, and we’re satisfied with the outcome,” Harper said.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he was hoping for a different outcome, but thought the best decision was made in the case.

“My heart goes out to the family. I know they were hoping for life and so was I,” he said. “If you take into consideration, going before a jury, anything could have happened for or against us in this case.”

“With that being said I will not say I am satisfied because he should have got life, but considering all factors, I will say the best decision was made by the DA’s office.”